MacMahon, Marie Edmé Patrice de

MacMahon, Marie Edmé Patrice de

(märē` ĕdmā` pätrēs` də mäkmäōN`), 1808–93, president of the French republic (1873–79), marshal of France. MacMahon, of Irish descent, fought in the Algerian campaign, in the Crimean War, and in the Italian war of 1859. For his victory at Magenta (1859), Napoleon III created him duke of Magenta. He was governor-general (1864–70) of Algeria and a commander in the Franco-Prussian WarFranco-Prussian War
or Franco-German War,
1870–71, conflict between France and Prussia that signaled the rise of German military power and imperialism. It was provoked by Otto von Bismarck (the Prussian chancellor) as part of his plan to create a unified German
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, taking part in the battle resulting in the great defeat of the French at Sedan (1870). He aided (1871) in the bloody suppression of the Commune of ParisCommune of Paris,
insurrectionary governments in Paris formed during (1792) the French Revolution and at the end (1871) of the Franco-Prussian War. In the French Revolution, the Revolutionary commune, representing urban workers, tradespeople, and radical bourgeois, engineered
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. A monarchist, he was chosen by the monarchist majority in the national assembly to succeed Adolphe ThiersThiers, Adolphe
, 1797–1877, French statesman, journalist, and historian.

After studying law at Aix-en-Provence, Thiers went (1821) to Paris and joined the group of writers that attacked the reactionary government of King Charles X.
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 in 1873 as president of France for a seven-year term. MacMahon inaugurated measures designed to repress the republicans but was unwilling to go to the illegal extremes necessary to reestablish a monarchy. This reluctance, as well as dissension among the monarchists, served to preserve the Third Republic, and France received its new constitution in the organic laws of 1875. On May 16 (le Seize Mai), 1877, MacMahon precipitated a crisis by forcing the republican premier, Jules SimonSimon, Jules
, 1814–96, French statesman. His full name was Jules François Simon Suisse. He taught philosophy at the Sorbonne from 1839 to 1852, during which time he edited the works of several philosophers and wrote his Histoire de l'école d'Alexandrie
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, to resign, although Simon had the support of the newly elected (1876) chamber of deputies, which had a republican majority. MacMahon appointed a royalist cabinet, dissolved the chamber of deputies, and ordered new elections; this was the only time during the Third Republic that the chamber was dissolved. Despite a Republican victory in the elections in Oct., 1877, MacMahon again named a royalist ministry. He was finally forced (December) to accept a ministry that had the approval of the chamber of deputies. This incident established the principle of ministerial responsibility to the chamber rather than to the president, thus limiting presidential power in the Third Republic. Involved in continuing conflict with the chamber of deputies, MacMahon resigned in Jan., 1879, before the end of his seven-year term. Jules Grévy succeeded him.